tv [untitled] December 3, 2013 11:00pm-11:31pm PST
all members together. the concurrent studies that we worked on through the last few years, the trips project looked at the entire neighborhood area and an outcome was to focus on improving multi-modal transportation access through this area. one of the products that have come out of it recently has been this -- what was called the central corridor project now recently renamed central soma project. it's been a great example of mta and planning and others working together to figure out a very complex grid that is radically changing with all the development, all the new jobs that are coming in and the transportation system is playing catch-up, frankly n in that area. with that framing i will introduce steve and have him
walk you through the project itself:good morning, steve werheim project manager for the central soma plan. if i could have the slides, please. this is great for planning and mta to work so closely together, really valuable for all of us. i keep this quick, but of course it's difficult to distill three years' of work into a few minutes so please ask questions when we are done. so why are we even doing the central soma plan? there are many reasons. the first and foremost the bay area is continuing to thrive and grow. we expect based on regional numbers 2 million more people and a million more jobs through
2040. so we're expecting to take our fair share of growth, about 200,000 and 190,000 jobs. people want to live in transit rich areas and walkable neighborhoods and soma has both of that. the advantage of soma is that it has a lot of development potential, that a lot of empty lots or underutilized commercial buildings that don't require displacement and are advantageous places for development to occur. of course there are many challenges to developing in any neighborhood. one of the biggest challenges is that soma in many ways is already an excellent neighborhood. the land use works well and it's extremely diverse -- tech companies want to be there, there are all kinds of income ranges and a neighborhood that has world
renown and it's difficult to do a zoning or planning process in a neighborhood that maintains what is already there and enhances what can be changed. that was one of our foremost challenges. we're here today to focus on transportation and maybe the leading transportation issue is the pedestrian -- the red areas are where the sidewalk is less than the minimum required in our better streets. >> quick question? >> yes, sir. >> i can't read the numbers on the boundaries of this. i can see harrison and townsend, but what are the other two? >> market, 2nd to 6th. >> thank you. >> thank you for asking that question. we have been working on this process since early 2011 and probably had a hundred of community meetings and met with hundreds of stakeholders, in addition to working with many agencies. so these are the challenges and there are other
transportation challenges. i'm going to turn this over to mara to complete the presentation. >> very quickly, what are we proposing from the land use standpoint? we're proposing to maintaining the zoning especially north of the freeway, where the c-3 or mixed-use neighborhoods that are already successful. what we have south of the freeway are industrial zoning that doesn't allow residential uses, it doesn't allow office uses. we spent a lot of time in san francisco in the last ten years to create protection areas further to the south where these uses can thrive, but it doesn't necessarily make sense of millions of dollars of the transportation infrastructure being built to have industrial neighborhoods that have very low density and while industry
is still important to san francisco, it's not the driver of the economy in the future. and so that proposal as can you see in the southern part of the southern part of the map was changing the zoning to zoning conditions that allow housing and allow office jobs or other kinds of commercial uses. the build form in soma is not like downtown. buildings are less tall and have more girth, if you will. and so that is kind of what we're trying to replicate in the neighborhood. you can see the height nodes from the map and mostly along the transit stations, but otherwise, we're expecting the support of bigger buildings and is that possible because of the large parcels that reflect its historical industrial nature. finally let's speak to what the build-out could be? so there is already a lot of uses on the ground today.
we have a 700 houses unitss and 50,000 jobs in the neighborhood. and just to talk about jobs for a second, the real impetus of this plan is to support job growth. we have done a lot of planning in the planning department for the last ten years for housing. the housing market is in demand all over san francisco. there is very limited demand for jobs in areas outside of transit. so we looked at this as an opportunity to up the amount of jobs that could happen in the neighborhood. with that being said, if we didn't change existing zoning, there is capacity today and a lot of parking lots and even in the neighborhoods that are zoned currently for housing and office. there is a lot of development potential and we could almost double the housing units without changing at all and could add another 20,000 jobs. if we changed zoning to central soma, adding housing units and jobs, depending on the market and the time, the market is
flexible. we prefer to see jobs -- we'll push to have more jobs, but we understand under certain economic conditions, developers will prefer to build housing units. so with that being said, i would like to turn it over to mara hunter from mta staff to get more in-depth about the transportation that would accompany what we're proposing for the land use. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon. >> mare hunter with the mta. so as steve mentioned, much is happening with the land use changes. so our work with the -- we partnered with the planning department to then look at the transportation network and make sure that we are allocating the right-of-way to meet the demands of the new trips generated by the addition of a lot of residential and
employment opportunities. in doing so the mta had a number of groups coming together, local streets, transportation, engineering, traffic engineering, transit engineering, strategic planning and policy, and we looked at a number of different plans in the area to make sure that at the edges, that all of those things worked together nicely. as mentioned earlier, we took the work of that to really develop the plans for folsom and howard. and tep earlier from sean kennedy's presentation, making sure that we're accommodating the other things that are already taking place, as well as what we anticipate to do in the future. there were six principles that were artic articulated in the
central soma plan, pedestrian, cyclist, transit riders as well as people going through the area for commercial purposes, deliveries and such. so these principles we identified a number of objectives to focus on each corridor in the project area to look at how we can improve pedestrian conditions from wider sidewalks, more crossing opportunities, calming traffic. we know that speeding is a major concern, because we have a lot of regional traffic coming through, meeting a local network. we need to protecttransit and in protecting transit, we're effectively protecting traffic, because you have separated those things. cars are not getting stuck behind buses weaving in and
out. so that is a win-win. we're also aware of parking needs and loading needs and finally, but not -- last, but not least, biking. those numbers are growing with the bike share program coming out, we know we need to provide facilities. that was something that came out of the public workshops that steve had mentioned. a lot of people were commenting on lack of bike facilities in soma. >> what does restricting curb cuts mean? >> restricting curb cuts, for like driveways and such, we want to minimize those, because they are opportunities for people to get hit while they are walking. >> not for corner cuts, but driveway cuts? >> yes. >> and one more question, my memory fails what "end trips" ? >> the eastern neighborhoods transportation
>> thank you. a bunch of new buzzwords for us. >> can you explain that curb cuts again? >> when you are walking on the sidewalk, curb cuts for someone's driveway or for a garage or something, we want to minimize that, because it's just more opportunity and increases the exposure to pedestrians to be hit. >> oh, okay. >> so this slide just demonstrates all of the corridors that we're touching. steve mentioned the boundaries before and you can see where really we developed concepts for everything in the north, 3rd and 4th, just the north half of the 4th street and central subway is taking care of the southern portion. 5th street was identified in the bike plan. so that is moving forward separately.
and then mission street is also moving forward separately through the tep. in light of the mayor's directive for pedestrian safety that was released in april of this year, in this graphic you can see all of those little segments may block our new opportunities. central soma blocks are long and people tend to dash across this -- at least it will provide a safe place for them to do that. so they don't have to jay-walk. so the next few slides are cross-sections of the corridors that we have developed concepts for. i want to make it clear that these are general. the corridors are long. they vary from block to block.
so again, very general. for harrison and bryant, knowing that this is an area where we have a lot of regional traffic coming in, we need to make sure that we can accommodate those traffic volumes. so we are going to keep this a major thoroughfare and do just a minor lane reduction. the top is existing conditions and the lower is proposed. it goes from five to four lanes. as part of making sure that we can accommodate traffic volumes a number of our concepts introduced time, time of day type of uses. so in the lower left-hand street -- excuse me, lane. it will be parking in the evenings. but a traffic lane during the day, during peak hours. oh, i just wanted to mention that all of these, again, do
try to accommodate all of those principles that we identified in the central soma plan. in this one we're widening sidewalks. this happens to be a bryant street cross-section that is going eastbound. so transit-only lane for the 8x. cross-section for brannon. this is an opportunity to introduce bike facilities as requested by the public. they want to see more opportunities for that and we added cycle tracks and lined the sidewalks and of course to do that in the finite right-of-way it requires taking some parking. and so we have done that, and we're hoping it will be in place hopefully with minimal impacts. for 3rd and 4th streets, this is 3th street going northbound, but they are mirrored. we're attempting to beef up
that transit-only lane and make sure we can protect that. we are adding a -- proposing to add a cycle track and again to do that, we need to take some space from parking and traffic. we did work closely with traffic engineering, ricardo's group and working closely to make this feasible and not just pie-in-it-sky kind of idea and by protecting transit-only lanes it will inspire people to use these other modes. widening sidewalks it will be easier and safer for people to bike and easier for transit to be more reliable and efficient. so hopefully people will move out of cars and into these. >> can i ask a question? >> yes. >> i understand what you are trying to accomplish. how do you accommodate service vehicles then?
>> like fire trucks? >> delivery vehicles? >> again >> it is just a cross-section. there will be loading bays for commercial loads and drop-offs. it will vary from block to block, depending on demand. >> this goes back to the discussion that we had earlier that i couldn't participate in, 3rd street is a major north arterial there. that is what folks who are getting off the highway are using to get into downtown -- that is pretty much the straight shot to downtown. so i guess my question is on some of these less thoroughfare roads where we're expanding sidewalks and where we're putting in cycle tracks and that sort of thing, i see the trade-off. we're not going impact traffic a great deal and we're going enhance the neighborhood, if anyone has walked out of a
ballgame knows needs wider sidewalks. on that particular street, is the trade-off really worth it? if we could put that slide back up, you are taking out two lanes of traffic. >> i'm sorry, i don't know how to do that. >> 3rd street. >> yes. so we are in the midst of environmental right now, and if we learn that this is a complete disaster, obviously, we will revisit. >> well, hopefully the standard isn't complete disaster. [ laughter ] the optimal flow here and it just seems to me that the cycle track on this particular arterial maybe do we need to widen -- bikes and pedestrians can go lots of places and i'm in favor of
these improvements on non-arterial routes. but now we're hitting one that is san franciscans coming into san francisco and the traffic on 3rd street is already not great at certain times. so that is my concern is really 3rd street. >> i think director heinicke you have a really good point and similar to the tep point that director reiskin responded to quite eloquently. this is the maximum thing we could do on 3rd and 4th street. obviously when we do the analysis and get more into detail, the ability for us to do all of this will be dependent on many factors. so we may decide that the transit lane is the most important thing to do, if we're going to see a huge impact on regional traffic. we as a city haven't really made clear our role on regional traffic. so this project is really pushing that for us. so we'll figure that out as we get
closer to the analysis. i take that point. >> and we'll be looking at capacity as well, won't we? >> right. >> because i know that we look at a bunch of cars in travel lanes, and we think that is moving loads and loads of people, but the reality may well be with the transit lane and with that cycle track and widened sidewalk we'll have the ability to move more people. and 3rd street is people coming into the caltrain station. >> other way, 3rd street is northbound. >> 3rd street onto market street. you are exactly right and one area that the team is looking at is the ridership on the bus, looking at the current ridership of people on bicycles and don't forget from moscone
to market street, as mare mentioned in the safety strategy, this area is one of the hotspots of pedestrian safety. so we're going to have to trade-off regional traffic priority, local traffic priority, et cetera. >> do we get better car through-put when cars are traveling on a street with no parking lane? i know in san francisco we seem to have parking on every street, even arterials, even sort of van ness and geary, that i would think in other cities would be arterials with no parking. do we get better car through-put when cars are traveling on a street without parking lanes? >> i think we'll see that in the analysis, what that looks like. but general observations from other places is that when you have less weaving of anything, whether it's transit, bicycles, parking, through-put tends to
be more effective. >> so we could end up with the same through-put with fewer peak hour traffic lanes? >> potentially. we'll know more when we look into that. >> 3rd and townsend all the way up to market and onto kerney? >> correct. >> i know it's a work in progress, but it can barely work now. >> i share that concern and i go back to the reason why we're doing this in the first place, which is there will be a tunneled subway under that, serving that and whether that our planning will be there will be fewer bus lines or greater headway there. no? no. >> the demand in that corridor is almost insatiable.
>> i will come back to my original point that i hope you are considering that. i think through my head, all of those streets that can handle it, the traffic can go elsewhere and that is good and then you get to 3rd street and i question that. >> all the staff are in agreement. we have been trying to figure out how to deal with 3rd and 4th streets, because that is the area with the most needs for all users. so it's going to be eventually a trade-off. >> i know when moscone has a major convention, you will see like five tractor-trailers. >> the point i was going to suggest is as we learn -- or as you all learned from the forest hill discussion, i think there is actually wisdom to the fact that vibrant arterials will make the nearby streets more accommodating to the neighborhood and pedestrians and all of that, because you have threw through car traffic.
whereas i'm worried if you bottle 3rd street, you will defeat the whole purpose of the neighborhood plan: >> because it's a lattice grid, we're prioritizing certain corridors for multi-modal movement and one challenge in and to try and test these outcomes, which is also why one of the reasons we're looking at that folsom street pilot right now. maybe howell or 3rd or 4th. we don't know yet, but rather than going to the full phrase and starting construction, to see how it works. >> going back to director
heinicke's point, the bikes and pedestrians go have options, because it's flat for the most part. so i think as along as you were saying, you provide for the different modes on streets in a reasonable distance that i think it could. >> directors? director rubke? >> i know this is still in the concept phase and we're still going -- there is a lot of work to be done, but the timing of this versus the 2nd street project. because this is kind of my neighborhood and a lot of people have expressed concerns about through-put? >> we can jump to that now or? >> soon. thank you. next steps. >> so folsom and howard, as noted earlier, this was
identified in en trips. en trips provided a few promising alternatives, a few keeping them one way and a few changing them to two way. so we developed a one way and two-way option, both working through environment and the folsom street pilot project will provide a lot of critical data to inform the final concept. so the one-way offers a -- this is folsom -- a two-way cycle track. on the north side of the street. and the two-way and a transit-only lane during peak hours. and then the two-way has a separated cycle track on both sides. and again to do these things
and widen sidewalks, it's the trade-off again, where we have to take parking or take a traffic lane and it's not to penalize anything, but to accommodate the different kind of trips that are there, but also the new land uses will be hopefully such that someone can walk and bike and take transit to home to the store to their job. so we're hoping that the length and nature of the trips will be different. as far as funding is concerned, to-date it's been accommodated or excuse me, funded by a few grants, and agreements or work orders between the two agencies. moving forward, and right now through environmental, again, a few grants, mtc, the mayor's
general fund, and also through moscone. it is a plan that we're also working on to make sure these things are compatible, but moscone is chiping in some money. and then finally for design and construction, much of that will depend on development impact fees and it's expected that impact fees will generate that. >> we could actually have money for this one. >> if the development comes, we will build it. so the transportation impact study, the draft is coming out within the next month. the first draft. then there is the second draft. then there is the screen shot, and soon we will -- we have
been planning the outreach process specifically for transportation, but planning department can speak to that part and more general environmental review. the draft eir is coming out mid-september of next year and so we are continuing to work together to make sure that things continue to move forward. >> thank you very much. good to see the cooperation of the two departments working so well together on this. >> we need an answer to the 2nd street question timing if you know off the top of your head? >> i don't know off the top of my head. i believe it's beginning environmental review now. >> it's like slightly ahead of this thing? >> i think they are doing a focused eir. so it could be that the timing somewhat coincides. >> would you step up to the microphone, please.
thank you. >> i think it's on a parallel process, but everything that is being worked on the 2nd street is incorporated into this. so there is no difference. >> this is an informational session this afternoon, there is no action required by the board? >> there is no action. >> thank you. we can look forward to a robust gold standard community outreach as we have had with two other things that have come to the board recently, where our community members are quite pleased with notification, with meetings and timing and things like that. >> candace from communications is drafting this new public outreach process, which sounds really promising and very robust and we'll be drawing from that for this process. >> good. and we'll of course, i'm sure, we'll be shared a loop in the supervisors, the appropriate supervisors.
>> yes. >> thank you very much. >> if i could just add one comment, chairman nolan, just to provide balance to the comments made by director heinicke with yes we'll have a central subway in the future, which will probably reduce a lot of the need for too much travel outside of a car. i do want to make sure just to provide a balance, that often times new transit systems or a new transit station from my perspective is going to generate more pedestrian and more bicycle trips to those stations. right now, it's just an absolute nightmare to get around on a bicycle or as a pedestrian. i'm actually looking very forward to doing whatever we can to prioritize the transit or the bicycling in that part of the city, specifically as access to getting to those future stations. so looking forward to the analyses in the future and seeing that it doesn't create an absolute disaster or what have you, but really looking forward to looking at